The Corner

Christie And Obama’s Lame Duckism

One un- or under-remarked-upon takeaways from the Christie spectacle is the fact that he is the most exciting figure in American politics for the moment, at least in the eyes of the mainstream media. Indeed, as I joked on Twitter, you have to wonder if Obama doesn’t feel a pang of jealousy for Christie. When was the last time the media dropped everything to listen to an Obama speech with such interest? No one hangs on his every word any more.  Obama’s State of the Union address will of course get ample coverage, but it will be more pro-forma than enthusiastic. I’m not exactly a Christie booster, but even Christie’s biggest critics on the right should recognize that as far as the bored and somewhat disillusioned mainstream media is concerned, the 2016 primaries have begun. And for the folks at MSNBC — as well as outlets that matter a good deal more — their job is to tear down GOP presidential contenders they see as a threat. I have no doubt that many of the reporters in on the feeding frenzy don’t see it that way, I’m sure they see this as simply journalistic due diligence (diligence they rarely apply to the actual president of the United States). But from the perspective of Republicans that is simply the reality. Obama’s second-term is shaping up to be a big disappointment for liberals. The mainstream media will still defend Obama, but their eyes are on what comes next. That is why Christie is getting so much national attention. This is a real scandal — a real New Jersey scandal –  but it’s a national story because Obama’s presidency is fizzling out. The thrill is gone, and the press has to look elsewhere for excitement. 

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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